Is the air inside your car safe?

Whether it’s fighting traffic to get to work every morning or roaring off to pick up a child from school, most of us spend a lot of time in our cars. What you might not know is that this may be exposing you to chemicals and pollutants.

Traffic-related air pollution is known to negatively affect the heart, lungs and our overall health. Your exposure to these chemicals and pollutants depends on many factors, including surrounding traffic, whether windows are open and fan settings. Pollution is often highest during rush hour commutes.

In addition to traffic pollution, you are exposed to other pollutants that can be concentrated inside your vehicle. Here are some tips to reduce your exposure to air pollution while driving:

1. Replace your cabin air filter.
Replacing your cabin air filter will help reduce air pollution from outside entering your car. Electrostatic cabin air filters can lower your exposure to traffic pollution, especially particulate matter.

2. Don’t store certain products in your trunk.
Move solvents, oil, gasoline, fuels and other products that may release harmful fumes or catch fire to a shed or an unattached garage. Be sure to keep them out of sight and out of reach of children and pets.

3. Reduce the emissions from your car.
Vehicle exhaust contains carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, fine particulate matter and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Keeping your vehicle well maintained helps reduce your contribution to air pollution. If you can, consider driving a low- or zero-emissions vehicle.

Depending on where you live, vehicle emissions testing may be required by law. Regardless, it is good practice to ensure you are not contributing unnecessarily to the air pollution around you.

Finally, don’t forget that reducing emissions also means choosing alternative and active forms of transportations whenever possible. Try biking, walking, public transportation, carpooling and even grouping your errands to drive less.

4. Keep a smoke-free vehicle
Never smoke, vape or use e-cigarettes for tobacco or cannabis inside your car. Many provinces have regulations banning smoking in vehicles with children. Know the regulations in your region and stay smoke free.